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all about public speaking
If you're like most people, then speaking in public gives you the heebie-jeebies. Well, we're going to show you how to conquer that fear, organize your speech, and deliver it with style. But what else would you expect from the Standard Deviants…
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time codes
  1. Communication Apprehension 1:02:35
    1. Four Ways to Combat Fear 1:04:37
  2. Organizing Your Ideas 1:06:07
    1. Chronological Organization 1:07:01
    2. Topical Organization 1:07:33
    3. Cause/Effect 1:08:11
  3. Presenting Your Speech 1:08:55
    1. Style 1:09:25
      1. Clarity 1:10:40
      2. Rhythm 1:11:52
      3. Imagery 1:13:00
    2. Delivery 1:13:52
      1. Physical aspects 1:14:41
      2. Vocal aspects 1:18:12
1. In one survey about people's fears, respondents ranked public speaking at #1—higher than death. Why do most people feel fear when they have to give a speech? What are your own fears about giving a speech?

2. Many people connect good verbal communication skills with intelligence. Is this connection valid? Why or why not?

3. Which is more important: what someone says, or how someone says it? Does your answer depend on who is talking (e.g., a politician, a friend, a child)? What about when a professional comedian says something?

4. If you watch the Oscars, which speeches stick out in your mind? Why do you think you remember them?

5. Who do you think the greatest orator of the 20th century is?

While the only good way to overcome a fear of public speaking is to give public speeches, you can practice other aspects of your delivery at home.

Pick one communication skill that you want to work on, like enunciation. Read a few paragraphs of a newspaper and record yourself talking (using a video camera is even better). When you're done, play the tape and check how you did.

Just focus on one skill at a time. It's easy to be negative about yourself after hearing your voice or seeing yourself recorded ("Oh, my posture is bad, my rhythm is off, I talk too softly"), but try to resist beating yourself up. You'll make a lot more progress if you work on one thing at a time and don't sweat the other aspects of your speech.

Improving how you speak takes work, but if you're practicing so often that assignments like these begin to feel like a chore, give yourself a break for a few days. It's better to practice three days a week for a month than to practice every day for one week and get so sick of it that you quit.

Click here to go to the test.

public speaking

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, in front of a crowd of over 200,000 people.
antithesis — The pairing of opposites within a speech, usually to suggest a choice between the two of them.

Example: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

communication apprehension — The fear of public speaking. Communication apprehension is one of the most common fears in the world.

delivery — The presentation of a speech. Delivery involves use of the voice and the body to create a desired effect.

enunciation — The practice of pronouncing words distinctly and precisely.

gestures — The movements of hands and arms during a speech to emphasize ideas.

onomatopoeia — The use of words that make sounds like their meanings.

Examples: "The buzz of the crowd. The crack of the whip. The roar of the lions. These are the sounds of the circus."

parallel wording
The use of a word pattern that's easy for the audience to anticipate.

Example: "We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow… this ground."

pitch — The placement of voice on the musical scale ranging from high to low. Like volume, pitch can be raised and lowered for emphasis.

pronunciation — The act of saying a word in a way that is generally accepted and understood.

rate — The speed at which a person speaks. The average rate of speech is about 125-150 words per minute.

rhythm — The sense of movement or pacing within a speech. A good way to create a sense of rhythm is through repetition.

style — A pattern of language and delivery that distinguishes one speech from another.

vocal variation — Changing the volume, pitch, rate, and pausing of your voice.

volume — The loudness of your voice. Changing the volume at certain points in a speech can help emphasize important ideas.

Idea Organization

cause/effect — This format identifies the causes and then determines the effects of a particular situation, or vice-versa.

chronological — The organization of ideas based on the passage of time.

topical — The organization of ideas based on topics.

Explore these websites related to public speaking. Remember, you will be leaving the Standard Deviants TV website.
Related Sites

Hear some of the most famous speeches in American history.

Find out about Toastmasters, an organization that helps people practice their speech-making skills.

Practice reading a political speech from a teleprompter.

Get some tips on giving an academic talk.

Public Speaking Guidelines

attire — Speakers usually dress slightly more formally than the audience members.

body placement — Step away from the podium occasionally. Movement in the direction of the audience shows you trust them. Movement is also a good way to make clear transitions within a speech.

eye contact — Your best bet is to divide the room into three or four parts and shift your eye contact among these areas. This way, every listener will feel like you're directly talking to him or her.

posture — When you speak, make sure you stand up straight, but not rigid. Make an effort not to shift your weight from one foot to the other, cross and uncross your legs, or lean forward onto the desk or podium.

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